Cut Down

The bathroom weighing scale finally shows the magic numbers: one, three, zero. Months after I started counting calories seriously I have reached my ultimate goal. It was a test of will, patience, and discipline and I did it breaking stereotypes about genes, age, and being endomorph. I have never been this light and fit. Take note: Never been in my entire life.

Measure and control play a big part in all this. Again, “whatever is measurable is controllable” proves itself true. A concept that I first read in school textbook, often heard at work, and now put to good use in achieving weight loss. It started with just wanting to shed off Christmas weight. Then getting out of the dreaded weight loss plateau. Then entertaining the thought of hitting the ideal BMI. Before I know it I was staring down at a scale that says I am already 30 lbs lighter seven months later.

The MyFitnessPal app made it happen.

It’s not really a big number but I am now following a new lifestyle–not cliche New Year’s resolution–which I would continue to embrace. Achieving a 130-lb weight is just the start. My current regimen could result to increased muscle mass so whether I maintain my new weight or not is no longer important. For now, I see lighter runs ahead and probably new PRs.

***

There is so much discussion about coffee. Some days a villain, some days a hero. Whatever, it’s fuel for me. But it’s expensive regardless if it’s Starbucks or home-brewed which is why I will start using a coffee press instead of a drip coffee machine that runs on electricity. I had my first brew last Friday and I like it.

Got this for 795 pesos from Starbucks.

***

Mood: 1/10 Honks! (Ah, yes coffee is diuretic. Reason I’m up for a very early morning snack and a Ghost Wars episode.)

First 16K

Can I run farther? I asked myself immediately after I crossed the finish line of the Run 7-11 10K category a month ago. I wasn’t all spent while slowing down towards the staging area so I think I could. Since then I set my mind to try 16K.

Next weekends, however, I was grasping for motivation. Why should I? What for? I seem unable to justify why I would torment myself running farther when 10K seems to be good enough for regular runs. And the funny thing is, in the past weeks I didn’t even do 10K anymore. I also did 5Ks just because my workout plan that’s stuck on our refrigerator says I need to. Telltale signs of boredom.

My Garmin capturing the spike of elation?

Thanks to running and fitness pages I follow on Facebook, I got back on track. Surround yourself with like minded people they say. People who had the same challenges, same people who despite challenges have beaten the odds. So this morning I pulled myself out of Netflix’s Ghost Wars. I ran while it’s still dark.

The plan was to cover 12 kilometers only. It’s the distance set based on my newly discovered pre-run meal: .5 multiplied by bodyweight multiplied by number of hours left before run. I read it yesterday, not the whole article but I was eager to give it a try. It says it should be good for an hour’s run.

Experts say that pace is key to avoid early burnout on long runs. I tried slowing down but every time I check my Garmin it shows my 5K pace which is a bad sign if running economy is considered. I was planning my turnaround point at the 6K mark but my legs still seem up for two more kilometers.

An hour and a half later I was on my home stretch. Sun’s already up, school kids already being dropped off, and the Monday chaos starts to set in. Before my watch hits the second hour I finished my run. Not fast but I did it. My 16K baseline has been set.

Sweet potatoes for recovery.

***

Mood: 2/10 Honks! (God is good.)

I, Runner

“However you run, as long as you run, you are a runner.” Words of wisdom from an online article but whether the writer behind it was just meeting word count quota or an avid runner who knows what (s)he’s really talking about, I would like to believe that I deserve the title now. Even just for a day.

This morning I conquered what I’ve been preparing for. I’ve been running several 10Ks lately as tracked by my Garmin but haven’t joined any organized event to test myself how I would perform against others. So when I learned last December about Run 711 2018 I willingly let go of my precious 700 pesos to register.

A week of preparation, diet, cross-training, and mind conditioning paid off. The day prior to the race was most critical as I followed my plan based on tips I’ve read. I had carbo intake (thanks to wifey’s tuna pasta), performed light bodyweight exercises, and drank just enough coffee. I missed my weekend Fail Army viewing session with Marcus as I hit the sack earlier than usual.

A good luck letter from my fans.

I was in Alabang about an hour before the start of the race. Early morning was cold and I was a bit dizzy but the moment I heard go at 4:45 I ran along with the pack and surprisingly picked up the pace. My Vivoactive HR shows 1 hour 7 minutes when I crossed the finish line–a minute less than my fastest record on Garmin Connect. It made me feel like the race winner.

Run 711 2018 10K route.

***

I am about to conclude that Run 711 is more organized than the Nat Geo Earth Day Run I attended seven years ago–yes, seven. Well, almost organized not until I realized that I was supposed to have a finisher shirt and a finisher medal. Pictures online and the race packet show that all finishers get one. All I got was a free paper fan, a Red Bull, and a Pocari Sweat. I bet the medal’s plastic anyway.

I didn’t have any picture except for this race tracker.

***

Official race time isn’t available as of this writing. Already had my Sunday nap but myruntime.com/connect still does not show my result. Nat Geo Run had its race result faster. By the way, I finished my Earth Day Run 5K after 41 minutes but I now cover 5K at an average of 32 minutes. Next goals: sub 30 5K and sub 1 10K.

***

Mood: 2/10 Honks! (Heartbreaking news and overeating.)

Bye Fat Wedding Ring

I recently read an article about someone trying to avoid taking sugar for a month and I immediately thought it isn’t a feat I would succeed at. An honest assessment. It was another challenge worth checking though. With the 711 run closing in I had my mind set to cut on more sources of sweets to lose a couple weight further this week.

So far I have resisted opening the packets of Swiss Miss that’s been staring at me every time I open my workstation drawer but that’s all about it. I have a sweet tooth and can’t imagine completely letting go of sweet treats. Me regularly digging in on the Kirkland candy jar for dessert just cannot be stopped–for now. But the fat loss seems to continue. Take note, fat loss.

My weight have been stable despite my caloric deficit diet. If the fitness articles I’ve read are correct, then there’s a good explanation for my current weight plateau. Some studies show that the intake of supplements and recovery food that follow after every workout is part of the reasons that there won’t be any movement in the weighing scale. During recovery the body absorbs fluids to help heal the stressed muscles that result to muscle growth one way or another. Makes perfect sense.

Will have the right ring size moving forward.

My current diet has one obvious effect, however. My wedding ring has loosened further. I’ve been wearing mine on my middle finger for years and even that can no longer hold it in place. If I don’t pay extra attention it’ll fall off down the washroom drain. Placing the ring on my thumb is an option but would look weird. So I’m letting go of it until I either have it adjusted or replaced. Today I will be using my wife’s ring with my name on it as she stays at home most of the time anyway. Nineteen years later, a wedding ring will be on the right finger.

***

On rare occasions our son steps out of the house at night. Tonight is one of those as we keep watch of the transition from blue to blood moon. Dear clouds, please don’t fail Marcus.

***

Mood: 2/10 Honks! (Survived mood swings. Must be the blue blood moon.)

Ten Years, 10K

WordPress says my blog turns 10 this month. Must be the domain marcuscanblog.com itself but actually I’m not so sure. Why? Two things do not add up. Firstly, my archive dates back 2006 while Marcus arrived November 2008. Either way I accept the nice achievement badge.

My WordPress laurel.

***

Run711.com now shows the respective routes of next week’s race. Personally, race is a strong word though in a sense may be correct if by racing it means beating nobody’s record but my own. We’ll see. Here’s the road to my first official 10K.

Image from run711.com

***

Mood: 5/10 Honks! (No run weather.)

Run the Talk

The time to run the talk is closing in. Last night I got my race kit and I’m excited seeing myself crossing the finish line. Last time I joined an official event was the NatGeo Earth Day run about four seven years ago and that was for a 5K distance. This year I’m in for my first 10K race.

Some bit of a challenge though as it looks like I have to cut more weight as singlet is a bit tight. The past days I was in the midst of free pizza and pasta served during a two-day planning session but I was able to resist the urge to eat. I took some bites just so I don’t appear as a snob.

Surprisingly I lost about two more pounds during this period. The absence of taking Swiss Miss and bananas must have helped plus me sneaking out to answer the call of my Garmin to move.

My singlet and bib.

Race is on February 4 and start time is at 4 AM. Fingers and blackened toenails crossed.

***

Mood: 2/10 Honks! (Marcus’ first therapy this year. Last one was before Christmas.)

Daylight Runs

I seem to start liking the idea of running when and while the sun is up. For almost a year I have preferred doing my runs very early morning while it’s still dark and cold outside and when there are still few curious onlookers along the way. The lesser people, the better was among my motivations.

Things have changed lately however. I began to realize that I couldn’t take vitamin D supplements forever to compensate the lack of exposure to sunlight. My wife seems to have also accepted that we can’t wake Marcus up early to attend Sunday mass (and expect neither me nor him not to be grumpy in the church) thus leaving her doing it on our behalf. She goes to church, I stay in bed and look after Marcus until he wakes up. So there goes my dark weekend runs.

Besides dealing with more people, pros of running in daylight does outweigh its cons. Visibility for one is a big plus. I now have lesser chances of stepping into animal poop, tripping over invisible potholes and uneven road segments, getting side swiped by sleepy/drunk drivers, and being chased and bitten by rabid stray dogs just to name a few.

More running options have also become available. Like this morning my wish to try going uphill close to the foot of Mt. Makiling materialized. I soon discovered that it was tougher than I first thought. Few months ago I was with Marcus pushing him in his wheelchair but it was more of a leisurely walk. This time I was running, albeit stopping every now and then, and I had my nose flaring, my throat drying up halfway of my run.

How high did I get? Well, my Garmin says that in about 15 minutes I achieved the equivalent of 26 floors. On average, I do 10 floors a day spread over 8 hours.

First time I got this high.

Going downhill also posed another challenge. If I were on a bike would have been all fun but running was different. I stayed focused and controlled my strides so that I don’t become the old version of Jack ‘n Jill. It was tempting to go fast but it would have been a stupid idea. Nursing a fresh black toenail didn’t help either as the negative slope means that I need to land on the ball of my feet thus putting more pressure on my toes.

This new route was short yet not easy. But would I do it again? Definitely. As the the mantra goes “Know the whys so that you could endure the hows.” Next time again Makiling once the sun is up.

***

Mood: 2/10 Honks! (Ready for work?!)

Black Toenails

Ugly. That’s for sure the answer if you ask most people how they find black toenails. I had the same impression myself, of course, until I populated my social media feed this year with more stuffs about running (and fitness).

I read from several articles that black toenails would normally occur, at some point, to those who run. Either due to bad sneakers, bad fall, bad form, fungus included (ok, this is gross) or due to longer runs. It just could happen.

Last December I registered for my first run in 2018 but no thanks to a bad bug that made its way past our door (despite our extra consciousness not to expose Marcus to the common flu) I had to lay off practice runs while I and Marcus spent our last week of the year blowing our noses. This month, my patience paid off and a week ago I saw myself in running form once more. I made 10K on my first run against strong cold winds especially originating from Mt. Makiling.

This weekend was warm and run started as a struggle. All of a sudden I would rather have either strong headwind or tailwind regardless of drag. But I picked up the pace and soon I was looking at my Garmin showing another 10K finished in an hour and some minutes. Not bad except for one thing. Toes hurt.

Removing my running shoes confirmed my suspicion. A black toenail–runner’s woe . I wasn’t alarmed though. In fact, its sight got me excited–I’m becoming weirder, am I? I might, however, need to minimize wearing flip flops in public in the next few days unless I want to wear it proud like a trophy as I’ve read other runners would do. Cheers to black toenails, yes?

***

A year ago was when I started running outdoors with a Garmin Vivoactive HR. I racked up 5K on my first day even if I was about 160 lbs fresh from vacation. I credit my endurance to the regular treadmill sessions which usually happened after we raid my sister’s pantry. I’m now 135, FYI.

Only gym I’ve used that needs a room heater.

***

How do you become better at running? You run more. Writing? You write more.

Now let’s see if the time I set aside my regular Netflix session so I could write would see itself posted on WordPress.

***

Mood: 2/10 Honks! (My turn to watch after Marcus in his room. Air-conditioning is extra perk.)

Magic 10

It’s a great day despite the overcast skies. Just had a 500-calorie breakfast after my usual second run of the week which is the routine I’ve tried to stick to for months already. You see I have never been committed to running, not to mention waking up early, in my entire life. Now I hit 5 km on average and this week I broke my personal time by clocking below 35 minutes and with a best pace of 5.5. 

I hit plateau in August and since then I decided to take actions. It was a personal challenge I took seriously just to test if everything I read about losing weight while staying fit is one that I can also achieve. So I jumped into the fitness bandwagon–extra weight in tow.

Measurement is key. Everything almost done by the numbers. In fact, I’ve caught myself doing things just so I would know the calories I take. I’ve called waiters to ask how many grams my serving has. I used the kitchen weighing scale more often than before–and was worried when the ones seven segment display broke. I would take time reading nutritional labels at the grocery isle. And I would log on my MyFitnessPal app, if not scan the barcode of any food packaging,  any food I consume every meal. It’s a strict routine but fortunately not in vain.

On this tenth month of 2017 I now hover close to the magic number. I just stepped on the bathroom scale and it shows I’m 0.6 away from being exactly 10 pounds lighter than when I first started my calorie watch regimen and trend shows that it’s a matter of days when I breach 140. 

Controlled descent.

It doesn’t end here though. According to basal metabolic calculator–my age, weight, height all factored in–my ideal weight is 4 pounds farther. That means more restrictions ahead but I know I would hit it soon anyway. MyFitnessPal predicts five weeks which is just a couple before my birthday.  I think that by then I would have earned the right to celebrate it with my favorite 200-calorie Krispy Kreme.

***

Mood: 2/10 Honks! (Running light.)

Balloons

One that got away.

Timehop continues to amaze me with what it can pull up from my past posts years ago today. Some cringeworthy, some funny, some sad, and some funny kind of sad like this one from eight years ago. This was the last balloon I’ve ever bought for Marcus which got away from his grip just before we left MOA. Few years later though we’d buy balloons again for him, this time only red balloons–the symbolic red ballooons we released on our first celebration of Duchenne Awareness Day.

Duchenne awareness day symbol.

***

We don’t have balloons today but the significance of this day remains in our hearts as we remember everyone with DMD. God bless all these children and anyone–especially their parents–who commit in making sure this progressive condition doesn’t stop them from enjoying life.

***

Mood: 2/10 Honks! (That ribs for lunch…)